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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Canadian wild rice production wiped out two years running by excessive rain in Manitoba

Wild rice crops wiped out by high water

CBC News, September 14, 2010

A Manitoba wild rice processor is calling this the worst harvest he's seen in more than 50 years.

Harry Arseniuk, who owns the Indian Head rice processing plant in Lac du Bonnet, said a rainy summer and high water levels have decimated Manitoba's wild rice crop.

Usually his plant is in full swing in early September, drying and processing wild rice harvested from Manitoba lakes.

But this year rice pickers have nothing to collect, he said.

"It's just terrible. I've got the processing plant here and I'm sitting here and not one kernel of rice here. Nobody's coming in with any," said Arseniuk, 87.

Manitoba Conservation confirms that high water levels on provincial lakes have drowned out most of the crop.

Arseniuk expects he'll take a big loss this year and worries he won't be able to cover his plant's expenses.

He'd like to sell his business and retire but this is the second consecutive bad year for wild rice and he can't find a buyer.

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